An Indigenous Strategy for Intensifying Shifting Cultivation in Southeast Asia: A Shrub-based (Tecoma stans) Managed Fallow in West Timor

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This study contributed to a set of case studies designed to investigate farmer-generated strategies for intensifying the fallow phase of shifting cultivation systems in upland Southeast Asia. In this study, I documented an indigenously developed, managed fallow system in West Timor, Indonesia, based on Tecoma stans L. (Bignoniaceae), an invasive, fast-growing shrub. Farmers indicated that T. stans fallows rejuvenated soils for maize cropping within five years. The fallows also produced fuel wood, light construction material, vegetable stakes, and some fodder for cattle. My findings indicated that the T. stans fallow served as both a more effective and a more productive fallow, based on Cairns? typology. In addition, I examined the political, economic, and social contexts of farmers using T. stans fallows. I thereby identified ways in which farmers attempted to enter the market system as well as constraints to their efforts. Finally, I reflected on a framework and characterization template created specifically for documenting indigenous strategies for intensifying managed fallows. The framework and template were useful in guiding the study such that it addressed a diversity of biophysical, political, economic, and social factors. It facilitated the development of an integrated representation of the resources and constraints of small farmers so that informed intervention strategies could be developed. Use of the framework also presented the possibility for more thorough comparisons of fallow systems and the broader contexts in which they occurred across sites in Southeast Asia.
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Shifting cultivation; Fallow; Tecoma stans; Maize; Timor; Southeast Asia
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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